May 12, 2023


Meet The Texas Startup That Recycles Rare-Earth Magnets, Bypassing China (Amy Feldman, May 10, 2023, Forbes)

At a factory in San Marcos, Texas, workers gather Bird scooters, computer hard drives, MRI machines and motors from hybrid cars in order to separate out the old rare-earth magnets so they can be ground down and shaped into new ones. These strong permanent magnets are everywhere, even if most people know nothing about them. They go into everything from electric vehicles to wind turbines to consumer electronics to missile guidance systems. Yet for years, the U.S. has been largely dependent on China for rare-earth processing. Noveon Magnetics, the startup behind this recycling effort, has a grand plan -- and some patented technology -- to make a dent in that dependance.

"We didn't realize till the last decade how big the potential shortfalls were," says Scott Dunn, Noveon's cofounder and chief executive. "You don't just get to turn on the spigot and produce these. They're not a commodity." [...]

Dunn figures that once its San Marcos facility is at capacity, by 2024 or 2025, it will be able to churn out 2,000 tons of magnets under long-term supplier agreements, using a mix of recycled and mined rare-earth materials, and bringing in revenue of $250 million with 40% Ebitda at current magnet prices. After that, he hopes to set up similar magnet factories in Europe and Asia (outside of China), with a goal of reaching $1 billion in revenue within five years.

Posted by at May 12, 2023 7:18 AM